Off-SeasonU. Dayton BasketballSomething Stinks at the University of Dayton

T-Rex8 months ago365 min

Dr. Eric Spina,

A recent quote you delivered in response to St. Patrick’s Day, left many alumni confused as to if you have disdain for the entire State of Ohio, The City of Dayton and the university over which you preside.

I don’t know what it is about Ohio, Dayton, and this university.

I don’t know of other places that have that kind of ‘tradition.’

Since you are seemingly unaware of what makes The University of Dayton, UD, and what people love about it, we have prepared the following…

As early as 1995, campus tours referred to The Ghetto as “The Student Neighborhood.”  A polite way to describe the squalor that most Ghetto houses afforded.  Pivoting away from saying “The Ghetto” didn’t stop UD from selling Ghetto merchandise in the bookstore and to this day hasn’t stopped students and 60+ years of alumni from lovingly referring to The Ghetto.

For decades, UD students and alumni have enjoyed themselves in The Ghetto and in doing so, forged the “community” which the school proudly markets as the overall identity of campus. UD isn’t wrong in doing so, because whether we lived in the decrepit fire-hazards of old, or the renovated and new Ghetto houses of today, UD students build lifelong friendships, the likes of which many college campuses don’t foster. The open-door, friendly nature of The Ghetto is the foundation for the community of UD. Freshmen and sophomores are welcome at all parties with the generations old understanding that when they are upperclassmen, they will host open parties as well. That is the kind of tradition, we love about UD.

The volume of second and third generation UD families speaks to the number of spouses who met on campus and spent countless nights together in The Ghetto. Every current and former UD student knows someone who comes from a UD Family. UD people continue to congregate in various cities around the country, and to some extent around the world.  Whether it is to watch basketball games, gather for UD Parties, or come together at UD Weddings, we stick together. That is the community that UD has always fostered.

That may no longer be the case when current UD President, Eric Spina, was so shocked at the seemingly benign goings on this past St. Patrick’s Day, that he is unable to utter name of the holiday, and in its stead, will forever refer to St. Patrick’s Day as “March 17th.” Forget the long tradition of St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans or the ghost of Homecoming, we can only imagine how this administration would have reacted in 2014, when 30 years of basketball mediocrity, evaporated in scenes of absolute joy in The Ghetto. Those images were shared around the world, and while some outlets referred to the revelry as “rioting”, it wasn’t. Tears of joy were shed in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, Phoenix, San Francisco, Denver, Las Vegas, and everywhere else UD alums are living. Innumerable text messages and social media posts were sent out and none contained even a hint of embarrassment or disappointment at the behavior of the students. The world was seeing us and it was amazing.  That is the pride in our school that UD people share.

This past St Patrick’s Day, a similar albeit, much smaller number of similar messages went out and the consensus seemed to be “It’s great to see The Ghetto is alive and well,” at least until a party was being described as a riot. There were no videos of couches burning in the street, cars flipped over, streets completely covered in broken glass, fire hydrants being opened, or police officers being pelted with unopened beer cans. For 30 years, the University has cracked down on the outrageous behavior of the past. At the time, students were angry, alumni shook their heads, but everyone adapted; it’s why Alumni Weekend is so well attended.

Something seems different about this time around. Previous cancellations of St. Patrick’s Day and the coup de grace delivered to Homecoming were done in reaction to actual bad behavior. They were punishments handed down because students/alumni screwed up and while it was upsetting to not experience Homecoming again, we couldn’t blame the school for shutting it down, things clearly got out of control. That doesn’t appear to be the case with this year’s St. Patrick’s Day. All reports from local news, students and social media don’t paint a picture of a riot.  The only thing exhibiting a riot were the scores of police offers outfitted in riot gear. That isn’t the UD that we know.

UD students and alumni love their school and it isn’t because of any rankings or prestige. It is because it is a unique place, with unique traditions.  From packs of Freshmen wandering The Ghetto on their first night on campus to packs of Golden Flyers touring The Ghetto via golf cart; they feel a beautiful buzz that exists nowhere else. THAT is what The University of Dayton is about.



  • Tommy Blackburn

    March 29, 2018 at 2:55 PM

    I felt like Spina was going to be a bad fit from day one. Seems like his priorities are geared towards culturally turning UD into a Northeastern liberal arts school (like Swarthmore, where he sends his two daughters). His focus is squarely on turning Dayton into something it never was and never should be. He’s not good for UD’s future.


  • Sully

    March 29, 2018 at 2:56 PM

    If you’re an alumni reading this and you want to get something up on the site. Hit us up. We publish fo free.


  • Tom

    March 29, 2018 at 3:15 PM

    Well done guys. The over reaction to this years celebration needed to be called out for what it was. Spina needs to understand people don’t come to UD for academics, they come here because they love the place and more importantly the people. If there is another NCAA run I dread to think how this administration will handle it.


  • Erv Giddings

    March 29, 2018 at 4:08 PM

    I musta missed something in my drunken stupor – what happened to Homecoming??


  • Angry John

    March 29, 2018 at 6:21 PM

    The first couch burnings that I remember was in 1974 when UD pounded number two Notre Dame into the ground. Not sure if any of this happened in the 60s. Need the old timers for their knowledge on this.


  • Dan Curran

    March 29, 2018 at 8:32 PM

    Spina did 9/11


  • RJ O’Hara ‘81

    March 29, 2018 at 10:38 PM

    Spina’s comments and possible punitive actions ‘against’ St. Patrick’s Day will do more harm to UD than the revelry ever could.


  • The kid from Lowes

    March 30, 2018 at 6:38 AM

    Spina is the Spanish Obama. That’s not a compliment.


  • Fifth Floor of Founders

    March 30, 2018 at 8:57 AM

    Tommy Blackburn you hit the Guinness right on the head. Spina should get his own house in order before casting stones at UD. He arrived on campus with a son and a daughter and now sends his two daughters to Swarthmore, and he wants to lecture us about what is tradition? Good luck on your upcoming capital campaign, Eric.


  • FlyerTusch

    March 30, 2018 at 9:45 AM

    Awesome post. Absolutely nailed it. Keep up the good work guys….


  • No need to be sexist, alumni

    March 30, 2018 at 9:57 AM

    I’ve seen two comments refer to him “sending his daughters to Swarthmore”. Pretty sure his daughters are autonomous human beings with free will. This isn’t the 1800s, people. They CHOSE to go to Swarthmore (which is their prerogative). Let’s not act like he’s some kind of king who controls his female subordinates.


    • Tom Blackburn

      March 30, 2018 at 10:20 AM

      I’m not even sure what this comment is implying. No one even hinted that Spina somehow “forced” his daughters to go to Swarthmore. However, the fact that his two kids go there does mean something.


  • Fifth Floor of Founders

    March 30, 2018 at 10:39 AM

    No need to be . . . .
    Agree with Mr. Blackburn. You need to do some serious due diligence on what is going on with Dr. Spina and UD.


  • The Legend of Devil Olive-oil

    March 30, 2018 at 11:09 AM

    Whats next……..taking away kids cell phones and making them stand in the corner??…….what about writing 200 times on a chalkboard……..WHY I WENT TO UD…..WHY I WENT TO UD……WHY I WENT TO UD. When is Spina gonna lower the tuition because the FUN has been lowered too. Doesn’t seem fair to pay $60K and not allowed to burn your couch or turn over cars



    March 30, 2018 at 2:22 PM

    The only good thing to happen to UD since Spina took over is Double 18 Lounge.


  • Stephan a Kremer

    March 30, 2018 at 7:59 PM

    This article is right on point. My son started there in 2013. I’m not a UD grad, but I wear my UD hat proudly all over the country. I get comments all the time. Within a minute of every conversation the person will ask if my son lived in the ghetto. It’s the common denominator. A good one. Shame on Eric Spina for trying to ruin what makes UD so unique.


  • Not from Ohio either

    March 31, 2018 at 9:34 PM

    Shortly before entering UD in ’89, I was dragged to the graduation party of the son of one of my Mom’s U of MD classmates. There I met a UD grad, approximately my Mom’s age, who related he had commandeered a fire truck at a UD ghetto party. So we are talking late 60’s. He was a respectable adult with a lucrative career. Imagine that!


  • Concerned Educator

    April 5, 2018 at 1:23 PM

    This article seems to reflect the views of privileged students who may not recognize the implicit bias of the term Ghetto. Dr. Spina has made great efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive environment on our campus. Did the views expressed here consider the feelings and experiences of students of color? Of those outside the dominant UD culture? Of those who have made valid arguments as to why the term “student neighborhood” is far less problematic than appropriating the term Ghetto to describe a place where students of means live close to and thrive within an institute of higher learning? Education is about growth, and that often involves adapting to a cultural climate the de-centers institutional power systems to make way for positive change. BTW – EVERY YEAR there is an email sent out from higher administration expressing concern about St. Patrick’s day and other major drinking events. (Yes, Dan Curran did this as well!) No one is trying to take way your right to get drunk and enjoy yourselves. What Spina may be asking you to do – with greater eloquence than in the past – is to check your privilege and consider the safety of others.


    • Tom Blackburn

      April 6, 2018 at 10:37 AM

      The term Ghetto is just that, a term. If it causes you emotional strife or mentally anguish, that’s a YOU problem. I’m certain people triggered by the term “Ghetto” are triggered by just about anything that doesn’t curtail to their slim worldview (which is what you expressed in your comment, btw) and frequently go out of their way to find things to be offended by. I’m curious, what do the events of SPD have anything to do with students of color? How or why is this an issue? I don’t see any connection whatsoever.

      Additionally, I can’t help but snicker at the inherent hypocrisy in your comment. You seemed overly concerned with the plight and experience of a small minority of students while completely casting aside the opinions and thoughts of the overwhelming majority of the student body (hint: these are the students actually paying tuition and who, after graduation, actually contribute back to UD). And here’s the thing — that “dominant UD culture” you speak of, aka white folks, those are the students that Spina should be catering to. Rather than lick the boots of students that do nothing but complain about UD and abhor their experience for all four years, how about putting the kids that love the school first for a change?


    • T-Rex

      April 6, 2018 at 11:11 AM

      This article doesn’t reflect the views of privileged students, it reflects the views of decades of alumni.
      The Ghetto has never been a place where people are excluded; but instead has always been totally inclusive. Your inference that UD is some sort of bastion of wealthy white kids is an interesting one, as that wasn’t my experience as a student. Maybe the socio-economic standing of current students is different than it was 20 years ago, but I’m not sure what that has to do with St. Patrick’s Day or 60+ years of UD students referring to their neighborhood as The Ghetto. It has never been done to denigrate anyone and students/alumni of all colors and creeds still refer to it as such.


  • Casual Observer

    April 21, 2018 at 9:42 PM

    Couch burnings?? I remember garages being burned piece by piece on Kiefaber in the very early 70s, almost all of the homes had garages then…the police in their riot helmets sweeping the streets to get everyone off the street and or back on campus. The last St. Patrick’s Day seemed fairly tame. I dont believe Dr. Spina did his due diligence before taking the job.
    The student neighborhood, whatever you call it, is one of the best things about the school but can also be one of the worst… but it defines the school.


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